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Using Cards to Facilitate Expressive Therapy in Groups of Children
Dealing with Grief

“The World of Trains” Set includes a deck of 50 Illustrated Cards, a deck of 50 Story Cards and a Guidebook with suggestions for using the cards. The cards can serve as prompts for various creative activities such as storytelling, drawing, role-play and techniques from fields such as drama-therapy, psychodrama, art therapy and more. 

When working with a group of children who are dealing with grief, for example, the therapist can invite each child to choose a card of a train carriage that s/he would like to work with at that session. Each child can then present the card to the group and put it on the floor next to a card chosen by another child so that a train is formed. This ‘group train’ actually includes all the members’ carriages and it can serve as a strengthening visual and emotional anchor throughout the whole session.

In the second stage, the therapist says: “I invite each of you to think of an imaginary creature that is travelling in the carriage that you have chosen.” 

When using art therapy, children can draw their creature; when using storytelling, they can write about it; and when using drama therapy, the children can act as the creature and walk around the room at the same pace and in the same manner they imagine it would. 

In the third stage, the therapist suggests: “Let’s imagine that each of your creatures is now alone in its carriage. It is thinking about someone who could not join it on this ride. Someone who had to stay in the train station or to travel somewhere else. Maybe your creature is sad when it thinks about the other creature, maybe your creature is angry with the one who could not join, or perhaps it misses the other creature and the things that they have done together in journeys in the past…” 

The therapist can proceed to invite the children to draw something that the two creatures used to do together; to write a farewell letter from their creature to the other one; or to play the role of their creature as it describes its feelings towards the other creatures on that train.

To close the session, the therapist invites each child to mention what they like about the ‘group train’ or about the stories and drawings created by the other members. Alternatively, the therapist can ask each of them in turn: “What would you like to give or to say to your creature in order to make it feel better?”

Numerous examples of the application of cards are detailed in "The World of Trains" guidebook.

To learn how to use these cards and others, please join one of our online workshops 

Written by Gali Salpeter - Story & Therapy

Expressive Therapist. Spec. Drama and NarrativeTherapy (M.A.)(NFKUT)(I.C.E.T)

Group w trains.jpg
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